In a corner of my parent’s family room hangs a very special display. It is a shadow box made by my Dad, filled with photos and mementos from my grandfather’s service in World War II. There are his medals, pins, his ID bracelet (his “dog tag”), his tank drivers license, pictures from training here in Canada and with his division overseas.
The centre of the display is obviously my grandpa’s medals. It took my grandfather a long time to share these medals with the family. Growing up, my Dad never saw them. Slowly, as the years passed and grandchildren were born, my grandfather began to show us items from the war. Eventually, when we went to the annual Remembrance Day service, he wore his medals.
My grandfather did not talk about the war. My Dad asked him once and has a single page of notes from the conversation. It was obviously very hard for my grandfather to remember that time.
Perhaps that is why Remembrance Day is so important to me. I don’t know what my grandpa went through when he was overseas, but I know it had a big impact on him. Therefore, today, I take the time to remember him and to be grateful.
For last year’s Remembrance Day post, click here.
Thanks for the post Julia. It is an important day for Canadians. My great uncle was killed in action on April 24, 1915 as a result of the battle of St. Julien. This happened about two weeks after he landed in Europe. He is buried in Flanders. There is a lovely memorial there that I was able to visit a few years back. Lest we forget.
How special to visit the memorial and think of your family.
This was so nice….your post made me teary eyed. Thank you for capturing the essence of this special day, it is so important to remember the sacrifice made for our freedoms.
I love what your parents did with your Grandpa’s medals and mementos. I have all my Dad’s medals as well, and have been thinking I should do something like that. My Dad never talked about the war while I was growing up, but then when they had the 50th anniversary and people went over to Holland, he and my Mum went. They had an amazing time, and he did start opening up a lot more about the war and what he did and what it was like. Finally he told some of his stories in a little book that my Mum put together, called “Sherburne’s War”. It was good to finally have an sense of that time in his life.
On the radio tonight, the silver cross mother (is that the right name?) said something about the sacrifices the soldiers made, going off to war, and how following that, she and many others made their own sacrifices. I never thought of it quite like that, but it’s most certainly true. We have all of them to thank as well.
I always thought it would have been meaningful for my Grandpa to go back overseas. I”m glad that your Dad had the opportunity and that is was a good experience for him.
We had Veteren’s Day here yesterday. I have several family members that have served and I have a 19 old cousin that joined the Navy last year and she is stationed in Guam. I am thankful everyday for her bravery!
Your shadow box is a very special treasure!
Acknowledging those that are currently serving is as important as remembering the past.
My Dad didn’t talk about his time in the airforce during the war either. I think it was too difficult especially for a generation that wasn’t used to expressing their emotions frequently.
That’s a good point about generational differences.